Counteracting Jet Lag, Starting with the Plane

Jan. 19, 2016
Could the solution to avoiding jet lag be in the plane itself?

In an article on Newsweek, one of the biggest downsides of long flights is waiting for your body to adjust to the new time zone. Airbus newly designed A350 XWB is fitted with LED lights that can generate 16.7 million color combinations of light inside the cabin. The idea behind the upgrade is to create a faux sunlight to trick passengers’ bodies that they’re going through the natural progression of day into night.

While the A350 has not undergone any clinical testing, if it works, it could be a major draw to those who travel regularly. When circadian rhythm disruptions—also commonly seen in people who work night shifts or are constantly exposed to artificial lighting—become chronic, they can have longer-term effects on the body, raising the risk for life-threatening conditions such as heart disease and obesity. One of the main ideas would be that the changing light should be scheduled to match the course of the sun in the time zone of your destination, not your origin.

The A350 also includes features like refreshing the cabins air every few minutes, maintaining a pressure of around 6,000 feet and more room for passengers. And one of the biggest differences is the composition. Over 50% of the structure is made from carbon fiber-reinforced plastic for lightweight strength and durability.

While the true effectiveness of the aircraft combating jet lag is not yet know; Qatar Airways added the A350 last January selecting Airbus’ and its $15 billion worth of research and development. The first flight to the U.S. was in December and regular service to Philadelphia began this January.